“Caught in the middle between the Park officer and the Virginia police, Pastor Riggs reminded his group that God had told him to go into D.C.—and go into D.C., he would.”
Saddle-weary cowboys on the trail, dusty from a 1,200 mile trek on horseback from Texas to Washington D.C. In the 1800s, such a journey would hardly raise an eyebrow. But this path, forged on the cusp of the 2016 presidential election, turned heads. It was meant to.
“The Ride” as the journey was called, became an extraordinary 40-day call for the revival of America’s churches. Numerous other cowboys astride their horses joined them at different times—there were 20 on the last day.
On September 29th, John Riggs, lead pastor of Texoma Cowboy Church; Gary Beesinger, the church’s Salt & Light Biblical Citizenship Leader; and a friend departed from Texarkana, a two-county region anchored by twin cities in Texas and Arkansas. At the line, you can literally step from one state into another. From that starting point, the goal was to reach the D.C. on November 7th— the day before the election—and rouse the countryside for God along the way.
This was Pastor Riggs’ second ride. On the first, a year ago, he delivered to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin a replica of the Ten Commandments after they were unceremoniously removed from the Capitol building. Some folks just can’t stand idly by and watch Americans dismantle what made America great; be it from the wall of a room or the heart of a nation. That replica now sits inside the governor’s office at the State Capitol.
Leading to November, Riggs knew it was time to go the extra mile—or, hundreds of miles—and bring the same message to the seat of the federal government. “Like many others, we have been praying that God would send revival to the Church in America,” recalls Riggs. “As we think about our country, and the condition we find it in today, our hearts are broken over the moral slide and depravity we see.”
Pastor Riggs has made it a point to look beyond the natural. “We know God has left the church here to be salt and light. We believe we can have an awakening, or impact, that will bring about a positive change for America.”
And, so, the horseman-pastor invited cowboys to do what they do best—mount up. Pastor Riggs preached in the nine states and cities along the way. “Before I left,” remembers Beesinger, who served in a support capacity driving horse trailers, cooking and managing administrative duties, “I wondered if this is how the Apostle Paul might have felt as he departed on his missionary journeys we read about in the Bible.”